We are seeking a passionate individual to join us as Executive Director of the nonprofit Utah Avalanche Center. Click here for more information.

Forecast for the Salt Lake Area Mountains

Nikki Champion
Issued by Nikki Champion for
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on all upper-elevation slopes where freshly formed wind drifts are the primary concern. The avalanche danger is LOW on mid and lower-elevation slopes where there has been overall less wind and less snow. Small, long-running sluffs are also possible in steep, sustained terrain.

Cornices continue to grow in size. Avoid traveling below or along corniced ridgelines as they can break further back than you might expect.
Learn how to read the forecast here
Weather and Snow
This morning, it is lightly snowing. Temperatures are in the single digits and winds are blowing from the north northwest between 10-15 mph with gusts up to 20 mph at mid-elevations. At upper elevations, winds are blowing 20-25 mph with gusts near 40 mph. Overnight 3-10" of new, low-density snow fell, favoring upper Little Cottonwood.
Today, skies will become mostly cloudy with an occasional light snow shower in the morning. We can expect another trace to 2" of snow before mid-morning. Temperatures will climb into the mid-teens and low 20s F. Winds will remain north northwesterly, averaging 5-15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph at mid-elevations. At upper elevations, winds will average 20-30 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph.

Small loose avalanches are possible in steep terrain at all elevations. If the sun comes out look for warming on any solar aspect at mid and lower elevations and avoid traveling underneath these slopes as an avalanche in steep rocky terrain could lead to an injury.
Recent Avalanches
Yesterday there were reports of small sensitive wind drifts along upper-elevation terrain and ridgelines.
Glide cracks are visible in areas of Broads Fork, including Bonkers and Stairs Gulch. Open glide cracks can lead to full-depth glide avalanches, though the timing between the initial appearance of a crack and an actual glide avalanche can be anywhere between seconds and months. Glide avalanches are unlikely to be triggered by a person, but natural failures are very challenging to predict. Practice safe travel techniques of exposing only one person at a time while traveling underneath these open cracks.

Catch up on backcountry observations HERE.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
The elevated winds will continue to form sensitive slabs of wind-drifted snow along upper-elevation ridgelines and mid-elevation terrain features that allow for drifting snow to accumulate. Variable wind directions over the last few days will have loaded snow onto all aspects.
Look for cracking, collapsing, and rounded pillows of new snow, and avoid steep terrain where you could trigger them.
These wind-drifted snow avalanches may entrain snow on steeper slopes, and could be more than enough to take a rider off their feet. Even a small avalanche can be consequential in hazardous terrain.

Wind-drifted avalanche on a south facing slope at 9,200' (Photo-Karol)
Cornices continue to grow in size and will be sensitive today and may break further back than you anticipate. Give them a wide berth.
General Announcements
This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. This forecast is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.